Brazilian legend offers moving tribute to nine-time Irish champion
Brazil: Not that it really needs saying, but legendary jockey Jorge Ricardo has long since demonstrated that he is a class act both in and out of the saddle.
Having been based in Buenos Aires since 2006, the all-time world leader in career victories returned to his native Rio earlier this month as he closes in on the incredible milestone of 13,000 winners.
Ricardo’s quest has become the subject of daily news updates in South America, where the jockey known as ‘Ricardinho’ partnered his 12,998th winner via Nova Zelandia on Saturday’s card at Cidade Jardim in Sao Paulo. He moved on to 12,999 at Gavea on Monday.
But if the 58-year-old is the focus of attention for his domestic racing community, his own thoughts were elsewhere as he dedicated the Sao Paulo victory to Pat Smullen, the nine-time Irish champion who died last week from pancreatic cancer in such tragic circumstances.
“There are races that we cannot win, but nobody can erase our achievements, our history,” said Ricardo in a moving tribute on his Twitter account.
And given Ricardo’s own history, these were no empty platitudes. In 2009, he spent more than six months on the sidelines with lymphoma. There but for the grace of God, and all that …
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